With support from the Orange County Department of Education, the Ocean View School District has been granted an attendance credit by the state that will restore approximately $800,000 worth of potentially lost general fund revenue for the 2015-16 fiscal year.
OCDE has worked closely with Ocean View officials since three of the district’s elementary schools — Hope View, Lake View and Oak View — were temporarily closed in the fall due to asbestos concerns. Students from the impacted sites were later bussed to other campuses throughout the county and have since returned to classrooms within the Ocean View district.
Meanwhile, the shuttering of three campuses has taken a toll financially, due to the mitigation of asbestos, reconstruction, lease and transportation costs. In addition, the temporary closures resulted in a significant drop in student attendance, and because attendance rates determine the majority of funding, the district was looking at reduced revenue for next year.
In response, Ocean View leaders, working in conjunction with members of OCDE’s finance team, submitted a request to the California Department of Education in January asking for relief. Last month, the state responded with a letter indicating Ocean View’s waiver had been approved, covering the loss in attendance for the days that its schools were closed and a material decrease in attendance that exceeded 10 percent.
School districts have the option to petition the state for lost revenue based on emergencies, closures and other hardships that impact attendance. The formulas get a little complicated, but they’re based on apportionment days — or the number of days attended by each student. For Ocean View, the state’s waiver translates into about $800,000 in restored funding, according to Wendy Benkert, OCDE’s associate superintendent of business services.
“This was an important step for the Ocean View community,” Benkert said. “Superintendent Gustavo Balderas and his staff are taking every precaution to ensure the safety and wellbeing of students in this current year and beyond, and now it’s critical that we all work together to make sure the district has the resources necessary to continue supporting high-quality instruction at all levels.”